Aeronautics Degree Program as Enrolled Thesis

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¶ … Aeronautics degree program as enrolled in by the student who wrote this report. There were several topics looked at for this project including increased visual intraocular pressure and other impairments during human spacefl9ight, the effects on space travel of the increase commercialization of the space programs around the world, the utilization of flight simulators by NASA and the pros and cons therein, the effects of transient vibrations and/or shock loads on spacecraft engines as well as with the structural integrity and the effect of space weather phenomenon such as geomagnetic storms, radiation blasts from the Sun and other radiation-giving bodies on NASA missions and aviation missions around the country in general. Relating to the last of those topics, how the data from the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is collected, used, shared, analyzed and parsed is something that is also worthy of review.


Comprehensive Question 1

Statement of the question. What is the anticipated effect on space travel if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) allowed for the commercialization of space travel and private sector participation in human spaceflight? What are the national security and legal ramifications of dual use of space technology?

Program outcomes addressed by this question.

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Outcome 1. The critical thinking competency is addressed as a result of looking at and analyzing the ramifications and implications of NASA moving towards a privatization of space travel logistics and equipment rather than keeping the operations entirely within governmental agencies, as has been the pattern in the past even if some of the equipment came from private sources. The student also looked at the commercial and civilian history of NASA's path, which has led to the United States coming at a major pivot point due to the Shuttle being shuttered permanently with no clear NASA-issued replacement in the works.

TOPIC: Thesis on Aeronautics Degree Program as Enrolled in by Assignment

Outcome 3. The information literacy competency was satisfied through research avenues and pathways that led to the student reviewing material related to space-related law and policy and it was all collected from scholarly sources. The use of dual-use launch technology was also assessed, as these applications can be used to deploy nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). An additional review was made as to the effects on the United States' technical, national security and economic infrastructures that have resulted because of the United States using Russia's spacecraft to launch and retrieve astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS).

Outcome 4. The communication competency was be addressed via the materials collected from NASA experiences as well as studies conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the influences these studies had on the broad aerospace industry. Lastly, discussions made focused on the future of space travel, human spaceflight and the technologies that encompass them.

Outcome 9. The competency of Aviation Legislation and Law was fulfilled by reviewing the implications that the United States may experience as NASA progresses with the commercialization of the space industry. The national security implications were analyzed through access gained from partner nations building domestic partnerships for economic strengthening through technological interoperability. This discussion also tackled the legislative actions such as proliferation control and arms control regulations essential to the transition into this new era of commercial space travel, and the effects of privatization on national security and space policy.

Comprehensive Question 2

Statement of the question. What are the increased visual impairments/intraocular pressure associated with long-duration spaceflight? How have new inventions such as advanced resistance exercise devices and fundus examinations helped identify, treat or reverse the negative effects of microgravity on astronauts? What are the countermeasures that astronauts have had to take in order to reduce the risks of microgravity induced visual impairments/intraocular pressure?

Program outcomes addressed by this question.

Outcome 1. The Critical Thinking competency was fulfilled by exploring how various new technologies such as photorefractive keratectomy could affect changes in visual acuity experienced in long-term space missions. In addition, the optics and ultrasound testing fields where technology has been successful in building countermeasures to combat these effects on astronaut health was investigated.

Outcome 2. The competency of Quantitative Reasoning was fulfilled with an analysis of visual acuity degradation on charts such as the Visual Induced Impairment/Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) chart created by the NASA Human Research Program, and other research was gathered from reliable ophthalmological studies on the neuro-physical parameters of astronauts.

Outcome 3. The Information Literacy competency was fulfilled through exploring the new advancements in technology. Research was performed by gathering statistical data from NASA flight surgeons that have resources and methods of surveying astronauts on the effects of space on their visual perception during different phases of flight and onboard the International Space Station.

Outcome 4. The Communication competency was fulfilled through analyzing research collected from NASA's Human Research Program and scientific experiments conducted to better assist NASA and the commercial space industry in understanding and combating these long-term effects to the visual system.

Outcome 10. The Aviation Safety competency was fulfilled through an analysis of visual degradation and its effect on aerospace safety. The various countermeasures that were researched included exercises performed by astronauts aboard the space station and genetic markers that give early detention signs of Visual Impairment and Intraocular Pressure (VIIP). A determination was made if the countermeasures have supported astronauts in their space environments.

Comprehensive Question 3.

Statement of the question. Beside monetary savings and safety, what are the pros and cons for utilizing advanced flight simulators in operations and evaluation training for astronauts to pilot spacecraft and perform operations on board the International Space Station? How reliable are these simulators in the rigorous training process and what are the foreseen advances in these technologies?

Program outcomes addressed by this question.

Outcome 1. The Critical Thinking competency was fulfilled by evaluating the use of flight simulators within various aerospace training programs including the space shuttle pre-flight trainers for space shuttle pilots. Further research was made into what approaches are taken by designers to increase simulator fidelity and the implications of cockpit automation on crew performance.

Outcome 3. The Information Literacy competency was fulfilled through the research efforts made by the student gathering applicable data retrieved from the FAA advisory circulars on aircraft simulator qualification. Human factor expert analyses were reviewed on human-centered aircraft automation, its effects on the task handling capabilities of the human operator with the information, and concentration required to monitor and manage the automated systems.

Outcome 4. The Communication competency was fulfilled through research collected from NASA experiments and FAA studies and their influence on simulator fidelity and flight deck automation in the aerospace/aviation industry. Inclusive to those discussions was a focus on recommendations on human factor considerations such as human limitations and what objective standards should define PC-based flight instruction like Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Outcome 6. The Cultural Literacy competency was fulfilled with an investigation of the historical evolution of simulators and cockpit automation. The examination highlights how simulators and cockpit automation have transformed the aviation/aerospace culture. Also, the inquiry focused on how simulators and cockpit automation have affected astronaut training requirements and flight procedures.

Outcome 7. The competency of Life-long Personal Growth was fulfilled through conveying insight, as both a private pilot and future career astronaut, about the benefits of understanding the effects of advanced simulator training on pilots and astronauts. This enhanced knowledge in the topic not only informed the undergraduate student on the aviation safety aspect of this training, but as cockpit automation and simulators evolve becoming more complex and realistic, the student consistently remained updated with training in order to remain current in a lifelong aviation/aerospace career.

Outcome 10. The Aviation Safety competency was fulfilled by researching the positive and negative effects flight simulators and cockpit automation have had on aviation/aerospace safety by reducing astronaut workload. Inclusive to the studies were a systems safety approach through the use of the MIL-STD-882D to explain procedure and training development and designs to minimize risks through simulators.

Comprehensive Question 4.

Statement of the question. What are the effects of shock loads and transient vibrations on engine and structural components of spacecraft/aircraft? How have these issues changed system engineering philosophies and methodologies? What new techniques and devices are being utilized to overcome these forces in order to make structurally sound spacecraft and aircraft? Techniques including Fatigue Damage Spectrum (FDS), Laser Vibrometry for Damage Detection using Lamb Waves and devices such as vibrometers and accelerometers were reviewed thoroughly.

Program outcomes addressed by this question.

Outcome 1. The Critical Thinking competency was fulfilled by examining how the utilization of devices like vibrometers and vibration reduction composite materials have affected structural design of a spacecraft and aircraft. An assessment was made on the various types of composites that are utilized such as aluminum alloys, steel and heat-resistant steel, beryllium, titanium, and composites. In addition, an assessment was made in regards to spaceflight missions where transient shock loads were a major factor in the demise of the spacecraft… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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